For the fifth time during the same eight-hour workday, you received a phone call on your smartphone from an attorney representing an original creditor. At least you thought the calls were made by a law office.
It turns out the phone calls you received were not made by a lawyer, but instead, the phone calls came from a debt collection agency. According to a groundbreaking federal consumer protection law, the third party debt collector committed two lawbreaking violations.
What Constitutes False Statements?
After deliberating for several years, the United States Congress finally addressed overly aggressive debt collection tactics on September 20, 1977. Called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the ultimate consumer Bill of Rights makes it illegal for bill collectors to call consumer repeatedly throughout the day. The five phone calls made by the alleged attorney constitutes a violation of the FDCPA.
So does impersonating another organization, which the bill collector did by claiming to be a lawyer representing an original creditor. Some debt collection agencies impersonate attorneys to instill fear into consumers. The implied threat of legal action is more than enough to motivate consumers into doing things they would not have otherwise done.
Under the FDCPA, a third party debt collector cannot under any circumstances mislead consumers. Another way to deceive consumers by making false statements involves the longstanding practice of threatening to have your wages garnished. Only a court decreed order can initiate the wage garnishment process.
How to Handle the False Statements Issued by a Bill Collector
Virtually every provision written into the FDCPA by the United States Congress clearly outlaws a specific debt collection tactic. However, a few recent court decisions have added a stipulation for cases involving the false statements made by a debt collection agency.
In addition to proving a third party debt collector issued false statements, consumers must also show the false statements had a “material” impact on how they evaluated personal financial options. In other words, you must connect the false statements issued by a bill collector with any negative impact the statements had on your financial decision making process.
Eligibility for Monetary Damages
The FDCPA contains a provision that gives consumers the right to file claims against third party debt collectors that seek statutory and/or actual damages. Actual damages, which are not capped by the FDCPA, cover the costs associated with physical and/or emotional distress symptoms.
Emotional duress symptoms can include anxiety, depression, and wild mood swings. To link the onset of emotional duress symptoms to the false statements issued by a bill collector, you should consult with a licensed consumer protection attorney who has litigated FDCPA cases.
The Importance of an FDCPA Lawyer
An FDCPA attorney will conduct an exhaustive review of your case to determine whether there is enough evidence to move forward with your case.
For proving the presence of emotional distress symptoms, your FDCOA lawyer will present medical documentation that includes a diagnosis made by one or more mental health professionals. He or she might call to the stand one or more mental health experts to confirm the existence of emotional issues.
Schedule a free initial consultation today with an accomplished FDCPA attorney.
*Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against MRS Associates, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.